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The race for the open ocean

Inspired by the early trials of the world’s largest operational salmon farming pen, SalMar is now determined to head even further offshore, with plans to build a system that can withstand wave heights of up to 15m.

SalMar’s Q1 report, reveals that – partially inspired by the early promise of Ocean Farm 1 – they now plan to head even further offshore and, having acquired 51 per cent of the shares in MariCulture AS they are now looking to develop offshore aquaculture facilities capable of operating in the open ocean.

SalMar have plans to go beyond their 250,000 m3 capacity Ocean Farm 1
SalMar have plans to go beyond their 250,000 m3 capacity Ocean Farm 1

© SalMar

Consequently the company has applied for 16 development licences for the development of the ‘Smart Fish Farm’ – a concept that “is completely different to anything else that has so far been designed or developed for the aquaculture industry, and will be capable of withstanding wave heights of up to 15 metres. If the development phase is successful, the new deepwater facility will, for the first time, make it possible to establish fish farming operations in the open sea, with hardly any restrictions on the choice of location.”

Meanwhile the report states that trials of SalMar’s Ocean Farm, which is designed for use in offshore locations and could hold up to 10,000 tonnes of salmon when at capacity, is currently being tested in Norway and the company reports good fish performance in a pilot trial of the NOK 700 million project so far, with the first fish due to be harvested in the second half of the year.

No lice treatments

On a more mundane, but no less important level, the company reports that the lice situation in Central Norway is improving and that they required no [medicinal] sea lice treatments in their farms in this area (which produced 22,300 tonnes of salmon) during Q1. They attribute this success to a combination of producing larger smolt in order to reduce the growing time in the sea, the use of cleaner fish for delousing and an increase in mechanical delousing capacity, combined with the use of sanitary harvesting where necessary.

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Overall, the company expects to harvest 143,000 tonnes in 2018, with just over 40 per cent coming in the first half. Costs in the second quarter 2018 are expected to be slightly higher than in the year’s first quarter.

Rob Fletcher

Rob Fletcher

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